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Lei Yue Mun Fishing Village

LUXE City Guides
  • Written by LUXE City Guides, Images by Calvin Sit

Every Mid-Autumn Festival, families gather on the beach at  Lei Yue Mun

 

Those families aren’t the only ones who have taken advantage of the location. The villages of Lei Yue Mun are some of Hong Kong’s oldest settlements for a reason. They sit at the narrowest point in the harbour, and for centuries have been a haven for seafarers and their families. At first, there were pirates; they were eventually replaced by fishermen and miners who worked in the nearby quarries. Today, Lei Yue Mun is a favourite stop for seafood lovers, but it offers even more than fresh fish and razor clams.

 

Although it feels a world apart from the hustle of urban Hong Kong, Lei Yue Mun is just a short walk from MTR Yau Tong Station. You’ll know you have arrived when you spot the fishing boats moored in the Sam Ka Tsuen typhoon shelter. From there, a pedestrian promenade takes you into a covered arcade lined by tanks of live sea creatures.

 

If you’re in the mood for seafood, the procedure is simple. Find a restaurant and inspect their tank. Do you feel like lobster? Crab? Geoduck? Clams? They’re all there, kept alive in seawater. You just need to point at whatever is making your stomach grumble and the restaurant staff will fetch your dinner, take it to the kitchen and prepare it in classic Cantonese fashion.

 

There are dozens of seafood restaurants in Lei Yue Mun and competition is fierce, but a few stand out above the rest.  Gateway Cuisine  is known for having the best view, thanks to its unobstructed waterfront location.  Happy Seafood Restaurant is praised for its baked lobster with cheese and steamed scallops with garlic and glass noodles. Lung Tang Restaurant makes an excellent Chiu Chow-style cold flower crab.

 

After dinner, don’t forget “Shui Heung Yuen for some sweets,” advises Alexandre Fontaine, who makes sure to stop by the bakery whenever he is in Lei Yue Mun. Founded by confectioner Lee Kui in 1957, the shop is known for Chinese-style pastries like wife cakes, coconut cakes and almond cakes.

 

As you approach the beach, seafood restaurants give way to small houses, but there’s reason to press on. The Lei Yue Mun Wishing Tree is a wishbone-shaped banyan invested with good fortune. Passersby tie ribbons to the tree in the hopes of improving their luck.

Tin Hau Temple

Keep going and you will soon arrive at the Tin Hau Temple, built more than 200 years ago in honour of the goddess of the sea. Although there are more than 100 temples dedicated to Tin Hau in Hong Kong, this one is particularly atmospheric, tucked behind giant boulders inscribed with messages of good fortune. There’s even a historic cannon — a reminder of the days when piracy was rampant in Hong Kong.

When the British arrived in Hong Kong in 1841, piracy was just one of their concerns. They were also worried about invasion by competing empires — especially Russia — so in the late 19th century, they built a network of batteries and redoubts around the harbour. Just 20 minutes uphill from the Tin Hau Temple is Devil’s Peak, home to the ruins of the century-old Gough Battery.

Lei Yue Mun Fishing Village

You’ll find the remnants of bunkers, sentry posts, explosives magazines and gun emplacements. “It’s interesting to wander through a war relic in a city that has a relatively peaceful history,” says hiking enthusiast Daryl Chan. The battery saw intense fighting during the Japanese invasion in 1941, but for most of its history, it has sat idle, except for the weekend visitors who come to admire the ruins.

It’s an easy excursion. “The hike is not too strenuous but it provides a great view of the harbour,” says Chan. You can see the narrows of Lei Yue Mun just below — and it’s easy to understand why generations of pirates, fishermen, military planners and now weekend visitors have found this watery passage so alluring.

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The Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability as to the quality or fitness for purpose of third party products and services; and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, adequacy or reliability of any information contained herein.


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